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Old 09-17-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
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1978 25' Tradewind
1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
Mountain Home , Arkansas
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Do it yourself skin replacement

Yesterday, I backed my 1978 Airstream Tradewind into my pickup truck and badly damaged the streetside rear lower panel. (the one that the tailight mounts to.) I spent most of the day searching the internet for videos and blogs for do-it yourself skin replacement instructions and came up empty handed. The factory manual makes it seem like a simple repair and according to Jennifer at Inland RV Center "lots of people replace their own skins." There is very little curve on the panel and it looks like I may be able to use a flat piece of Allclad and rivet it on after removing the old panel. The replacement panel from inland is almost $400.00 plus shipping and a six foot piece of .040 Alclad is less than $150.00 delivered to my door. Iv'e got the tools, electric metal shears, rivet shaver etc. All I need is a little advice and encouragment from someone who has been there and done that!

Has anyone on this list done this? I can't find any threads but maybe I am not searching correctly. Are there any books, manuals, videos or other aids available for this job?

Ed Normandy
Mountain Home, AR
1978 25' Tradewind
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:01 PM   #2
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Been there, done that...

First off, sorry to hear about your accident...bummer!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ednormandy View Post
All I need is a little advice and encouragment from someone who has been there and done that!

Has anyone on this list done this?
Been there, done that...several times. Using both bucked rivets (interiot panels removed also) & Olympics (removing only damaged exterior panels).

We've replaced:
1) the streetside panel on a friend's 1964 GlobeTrotter - using Olympic Rivets, 2) our streetside panel on our (since sold) 1964 GlobeTrotter - using Olympic Rivets,
3) our streetside panel both inside & outside on our 1956 Safari using bucked rivets on the exterior as wally would have done.
4) our front & back corners on our (since sold) 1964 GlobeTrotter - using Olympic Rivets

Check this out..."It's a Girl!!!" (starting around post #209) & "Maxwell gets some TLC" (starting around post #38)

It's not difficult, but it can be a bit intimidating the first time you're getting started. We don't have as many pics of the bucked rivet process because I was the shooter & Mr.InsideOut was the bucker and there was nobody around to take pictures. It's actually a pretty fun & rewarding job - not one you do very often though if you're lucky!

Good luck!

Shari
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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1978 25' Tradewind
1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
Mountain Home , Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 18
On the front and back corners, did you buy the factory formed pieces or use sheet aluminum? - Ed
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:37 PM   #4
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On the front and back corners, did you buy the factory formed pieces or use sheet aluminum? - Ed
From 1969 and up, the only "flat" sheet metal used is below the front and rear windows, and on the sides.

The other 7 sections of metal on the front and rear are all stretch formed.

From 1968 and older, the quarter panels were indeed flat metal.

Andy
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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1976 27' Overlander
Missoula , Montana
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Ed, just a thought, but you might check out your local airport and find pilots who have home-builts - especially aluminum ones. You might be surprised to find out how much knowledge there is near you about working with aluminum. At least they will know what clecos are!
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ednormandy View Post
On the front and back corners, did you buy the factory formed pieces or use sheet aluminum? - Ed
Both our trailers had all flat panels so we were able to order & use flat alclad panels we purchased from an aircraft supply house. If your trailer has compound curves, it will be a bit more difficult sourcing the panels, but the actual riveting & process is the same.

Shari
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